Cheap, Cheap Giggles

A fun thing about the English language is that, for some reason, it sells like hotcakes in many parts of the world where English is seldom even spoken or understood. One of these locations is Florianópolis, Brazil apparently. And since the English language is rarely understood, the intricacies of its grammar, which us Americans tend to learn (then later ignore), carries little to no importance in the business of low-cost shirt sales. This being true, the shirts I found in one particular Floripa brechó (thrift store) did not make a lick of sense… or did they? You may see for yourself in the following hilarious photo diary:


Listen, I get the goal aesthetic of this one. It’s a hardass warning to all who view the wearer of this shirt. To me, it says “I follow the old school rules so it’s my way or the highway, bucko.” If I were bucko, I would be terrified. I am however rather befuddled by the combination of the words “EAR” and “NONE.” Is the wearer threatening to take away my ears, leaving me with none? Could the design company (God bless them) have meant “BEAR?” As in “I will BEAR NONE of your B.S.” We shall never know. But we do know that the “old school rules” seem to have been established in 1990. Old school indeed.


Honestly, I cannot be sure this is a mistake. Though one might immediately scoff at the sight of the two antonyms like “modern” and “vintage” being combined, I suspect some contemporary complexity that we may not even be prepared for as a culture. You see, the bow on the dog’s head is indeed in “vintage” fashion. However, its location on a DOG’S head as opposed to the traditionally used human’s head is a stroke of à la mode genius. I think Brazil’s fashion culture is simply not evolved enough to handle this multi-layered message.


Some questions: To whom do the memories belong? To the woman on the shirt? To the wearer? Does he, she, or they only remember the feelings, or the occurrences which sparked them as well? Are the memories perhaps OF the woman on the shirt? Is her hair teased because it’s high fashion or is she meant to be representing a different era? Is the wearer bragging about a comfortable upbringing? This rabbit hole is too much for me.


This adorable shirt speaks for itself. Ice cream really IS delicious even in winter! Even though Brazil’s winters still register at roughly a zillion degrees Fahrenheit for us Minnesotans, I assume a nice fancy cup of soft serve ice cream (don’t forget the three straws and stuffed bear!) is still commonly enjoyed by Brazilians of all creeds! Though I am confused by the initial emphasis on the word “cream,” I’m willing to overlook it because of the phrase “I Love Bear” at the bottom, which I must assume is the bear himself demonstrating strong self-esteem in the third person.


My thoughts on this shirt are twofold: Either, one, someone has just told the wearer something like, “Sometimes a person can lift five hundred pounds!” and the wearer’s skeptical response is “I believe THAT when the body is strong.” A grammatically questionable reply but a reasonable one nonetheless. OR, two, that the period at the end is supposed to be a comma, leaving the reader to inspire themselves by wondering just what could occur with a strong body. I believe that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson may be behind the design of this shirt.


I am left without ideas on the potential meaning behind this one. I think someone on the design team liked tigers and the city of LA and added some words from a random English word generator. Although maybe it’s an advertisement for the tiger and his nice tricks in Los Angeles. If this is the case, it is among the poorest advertising efforts I’ve seen. The message was not clear.


There is much to unpack here. Paper, memories, Paris, seemingly random numbers… I like to believe that this jumble of information was meant to be promoting tangible, hand-made memory-making methods (hence the quill) in this era of cellular telephone addiction. Although, I disagree with its promotion of Paris only on “beautiful days.” There is something so nostalgic and comfortable about the rain so I do hope the wearer as well as the readers do not take the designers suggestions too literally. Also, the year 1760 seems to be of importance. Upon a quick Googling I have discovered that 1760 was the approximate year that the modern restaurant was invented in Paris! I too consider this invention to be of great importance.


Hm. Random girly buzzwords strung together with appalling grammar. Zero out of ten.


A convoluted Rihanna reference? I believe that a tastefully placed image of Rihanna would have helped my understanding. Though that is the least of the problems this sloppy pink number has to offer. If that pathetic white-to-pink gradient coloring the “diamond” is meant to offer the illusion of anything resembling “shining bright,” it FAILS. I wash my hands of this mess.


I must admit that I am tired of trying to work out these messages. Perhaps the fault is in the designers. Perhaps they looked at some lame American graphic shirt designs and subsequently mad-libbed themselves some similar shirts, losing any meaning they once had in poor translation. Or, of course, perhaps the fault is mine for not realizing that that doesn’t really matter. These shirts aren’t for a snobby American teen who is still bewildered by life without a clothes dryer. They’re for Brazilians who speak Portuguese and are trying to save a buck or two. I sincerely hope all their non-anglophone friends think they look as cool as they’re meant to.